Dark Sarah – The Puzzle (2016)

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Hailing from Finland, today we have Heidi Parviainen’s Dark Sarah and their sophomore full-length release titled “The Puzzle”. Delivering ten bombastic songs of very dramatic and theatrical Symphonic/Gothic Metal, Heidi continues to come out the shadows of her ex band Amberian Dawn and establish her-self (and the new band) as one of the most dynamic and engaging bands in the genre. If you like bands like Nightwish, Epica, Cornoatus, etc. this is one release you don’t want to miss.

After the opening intro, “Island in the Mist” opens up with heavy riffs and magical keyboards. With this approach the track feels quite engaging and very bombastic as Hedi’s vocals appear adding to the magic. With Erkka Korhonen (Northern Kings) and Sami Salonen handling the guitar duties, tracks like “Little Men” and “Ash Grove” are both heavy and playful, changing tempos perfectly and allowing the music to be as dynamic and explosive as possible.

Drawing from her personal experiences to create the band’s main character Sarah, Hedi crafts an engaging lyrical concept behind “The Puzzle” allowing tracks to “Dance with The Dragon” to perfectly play out the story. We personally enjoy tracks that are on the more dramatic side, like “For the Birds”, which brilliantly showcase Heidi’s vocal talents while immersing the listener in the band’s world.

As with any theatrical experience, there are plenty of mood changes in this release as it changes from bombastic and explosive to more mellow pieces like “Cliffhanger”. Saving some of the best for last, “Aquarium” features guest vocals from Delain’s Charlotte Wessels, delivering very hectic song but with majestic chorus sections that will not leave your head for weeks. The album comes to a close with the magical “Rain”, which also features Manuela Kraller on guest vocals, to add an extra layer of amazingness on top of this fine song.

Overall, “The Puzzle” is one hell of a bombastic musical experience. Each track is expertly crafted to deliver very emotive lyrics, something that Dark Sarah has been refining over their short existence. The Metal elements are very much present in this release and perfectly bring together the theatrical aspect of the band. As one of the best Symphonic/Gothic Metal releases of 2016, you should definitely invest in getting yourself a copy of this fine release.

Band: Dark Sarah Album: The Puzzle

Label: Inner Wound Recordings

Release: November 18th, 2016

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Genre: Symphonic/Gothic Metal

Country: Finland

Rating: 90/100
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